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attacked and wounded for speaking friendly words in
behalf of the colonists, and that by breaking away he
had narrowly escaped death.

Upon receiving this startling intelligence, the Gov-
ernor ordered the cannon upon the hill to be instantly
discharged to recall the shallop. The day was calm,
the boat had been retarded hi its progress, and the
report, booming over the still waters of the bay, reached
the ears of the crew just as the shallop was disappear-
ing around the point of Gurnet's Nose. Captain
Standish immediately returned, the whole military
force of the colony was at once called inro requisition,
and measures were adopted for a vigorous defense.


Upon the return of the shallop, Hobbomak, who
was with Captain Standish, declared, with great posi-
tiveness, that the rumor was false. He said that he
was sure that Massasoit would prove faithful to his
pledges ; that it was impossible that he could under-
take such an enterprise without communicating his
intentions to his sub-chiefs, of whom Hobbomak him-
self was one of the principal. This tended rather to
increase the suspicions of the colonists that Squantum
might be playing a double part.

To ascertain the facts, the wife of Hobbomak, who
seems to have been a very intelligent and reliable
woman, was sent as a secret agent or spy to Pokano-
ket, the seat of Massasoit, to inform herself respect-
ing the true posture of affairs, and to bring back a re-
port. Her difficult and important mission she per-
formed very creditably. Finding there everything
quiet, and no indication whatever of any hostile move-
ment, she frankly informed Massasoit of the rumors
which had reached the ears of the Pilgrims. He was
very indignant in being thus traduced, threw much
blame upon Squantum, and expressed his gratitude
that the Governor had not distrusted him. He re-
quested the squaw to assure the Governor that he
would prove faithful to his treaty obligations, and that
should he see any indications of hostility in any quar-
ter he would immediately give the Governor warning.


The Weymouth Colonists.

The Double-Dealing of Squantum. False Alarm. Voyage to Mas-
sachusetts. Massasoit Demands Squantum. The Arrival of the
boat. The Virginia Massacre. Preparations for Defense. Ar-
rival of the Charity and the Swan. Vile Character of the Wey-
mouth Colonists. Arrival of the Discovery. Starvation at Wey-
mouth. Danger of the Plymouth Colony. Expeditions for Food.
Death of Squantum. Voyage to Massachusetts and the Cape.

Speaking of the apprehended double-dealing of
Squantum, Mr. Winslow writes :

" Thus, by degrees, we began to discover Squan-
tum, whose ends were only to make himself great in
the eyes of his countrymen, by means of his nearness
and favor with us, not caring who fell so he stood. In
the general, his course was to persuade them he could
lead us to peace or war at his pleasure, and would oft
threaten the Indians, sending them word in a private
manner that we were intending shortly to kill them,
that thereby he might get gifts to himself to work
their peace ; insomuch that they had him in greater
esteem than many of their sachems. So that where-
as divers were wont to rely on Massasoit for protec-
tion, and resort to his abode, now they began to leave
him and seek after Squantum.


" Now, though he could not make good these, his
large promises, especially because of the continued
peace between Massasoit and us, he therefore raised
this false alarm, hoping, while things were hot in the
heat of blood, to provoke us to march into his coun-
try against him ; whereby he hoped to kindle such a
flame as would not easily be quenched ; and hoping
if that block were once removed, there were no other
between him and honor, which he loved as his life, and
better than peace."

The above is undoubtedly the true explanation of
the strange conduct of Squantum. The Governor
very severely reprimanded him for his trickery. Mas-
sasoit was so indignant that he sent a messenger to
Plymouth, entreating that Squantum might be put to
death. The Governor admitted that he deserved
death, but he could not possibly be spared. As he
alone understood both languages, without him there
could scarcely be any intercourse between the Pil-
grims and the Indians.

" It was, perhaps," writes Francis Baylies, " after
all, but natural for Squantum, who does not appear to
have possessed much influence with the natives, at
the time of the arrival of the English, to endeavor to
make the most of their favor. His knowledge of the
English language gave him a decided advantage over
all others. His own small tribe had been extermina-


ted by the plague. He was a solitary man, unaided
by the influence or favor of kindred, and he only used
the means which fortune had placed in his hands to
acquire wealth, consideration and influence. Another
of his devices, to magnify the power of the English,
and consequently his own, was to persuade the na-
tives that the English had buried the plague in their
store-house, and that they could loose it at will, and
ravage the whole country. The apprehension of this
kept the Indians in great fear." *

The alarm created by this false rumor having sub-
sided, Captain Standish again set out with his party
to visit Massachusetts. It is to be regretted that we
have not a detailed account of the incidents which
occurred upon this voyage. The only record we have
is contained in the few following words, by Mr. Wins-
low :

"After this, we proceeded in our voyage to the
Massachusetts, where we had good store of trade ;
and, blessed by God, returned in safety, though driven
from before our town in great danger and extremity
of weather." f

Upon their return in May, they found Massasoit
still in a state of great excitement in reference to the

* Memoir of the Colony of Plymouth, by Francis Baylies. Part
the First, page 91.

f Winslow in Young ; p. 290.


conduct of Squantum. By the treaty, which the Eng-
lish had entered into with the Indian King, both par-
ties were bound to surrender criminals. Squantum,
as an adopted member of the Wampanoag tribe, was
a subject of Massasoit. The Indian chief now sent
an imposing delegation to Plymouth, formally demand-
ing the surrender of Squantum, that, in accordance
with Indian law, he might be put to death as a traitor.
With the delegation, he sent executioners to cut off
Squantum's head and hands, and to bring them to him.
In token of his friendship for the English he sent to
the Governor a rich present of beaver skins.

Governor Bradford was much embarrassed. He
sent for Squantum. The culprit, though fully aware
of the object of the Indian envoys, and even that Mas-
sasoit had sent his own knife, with which to cut off
his head and hands, made no effort to escape. With
true Indian stolidity he yielded himself to the Gover-
nor to be delivered to death, or not, as he might think

The terms of the treaty seemed clear. The Gov-
ernor decided that he could not, without violating his
solemn pledge, refuse to surrender Squantum to Mas
sasoit. He was just about to make this surrender,
which would have resulted in the immediate death of
the Indian, and which, of course, created the most in-
tense excitement in the little colony, when all were


startled by the apparition of a shallop, under full sail,
rounding Hither Monornet Point, which constituted
the southern boundary of Plymouth Bay. A panic
pervaded the colony. It was feared that it was a
French boat, accompanying some French man-of-war,
and that they were approaching in conceit with the
Indians for the destruction of the colony. Every man
sprang to arms. Captain Standish mustered his whole
force for defence. It might be that the hostile Indi-
ans would rush upon them in an hour. There was
no doubt that Squantum, with all his great imperfec-
tions of character, was the friend of the English. His
services as interpreter, under these circumstances,
became more important than ever. Governor Brad-
ford therefore informed the envoys that he could not
deliver Squantum to their custody. This roused their
indignation. " Being mad with rage," writes Mr. Wins-
low, "and impatient at delay, they departed in great

It was soon ascertained, greatly to the relief of
the colonists, that the shallop belonged to an English
fishing vessel, called the Sparrow. The ship had been
fitted out by Mr. Thomas Weston, a London mer-
chant, and brought seven passengers to be landed at
Plymouth. The vessel, engaged in fishing, had cast
anchor at a place called Damari's Cove, near Monhe-
gan, upon the coast of Maine, about one hundred and


twenty miles northeast from Plymouth. This was
famous fishing ground, and there were, at that time,
thirty-five vessels riding at anchor there. The Spar-
row, while most of her crew were engaged in fishing,
had sent her shallop to convey the seven passengers
to Plymouth.

The boat brought seven more mouths to be fed,
and no provisions. It was the last of May, 1622.
The colonial store of food was almost entirely con-
sumed, and for a long time the colonists had been
placed upon very short allowance. This boat brought
a very friendly letter from the captain of the Swallow,
John Huldston, communicating the startling intelli-
gence that the Indians in Virginia had risen against
the colony there on the 22d of March, and four hun-
dred of the Indians had been massacred. There could
be no doubt that this success of the Indians in Vir-
ginia would be speedily communicated to all the
tribes ; and that it would inspire the hostile Indians
in New England with the desire to imitate their ex-

The crew of the shallop had barely provision suf-
ficient to serve them until their return to the ship.
The destitution of food in the colony was so great
that the colonists were threatened with absolute star-
vation. The Governor therefore sent Mr. Winslow
in the shallop, with a small crew, to the fishing ves-


sels, to obtain from them, if possible, some supplies.
The boat from the Swallow led the way. The fisher-
men were very generous. Though they had but a
scant supply of provisions for themselves, yet, with an
abundant store of fish on board, they were in no dan-
ger of starving. They refused to take any pay for
the contributions they furnished to meet the wants of
the Pilgrims. Governor Bradford writes :

" What was got, and this small boat brought, being
divided among so many, came but to a little. Yet by
God's blessing it upheld them till harvest. It arose to
but a quarter of a pound of bread a day to each per-
son. The Governor caused it to be daily given them ;
otherwise, had it been in their own custody, they
would have eaten it up and then starved. But thus,
with what else they could get, they made pretty shift
until corn was ripe." *

The question naturally arises, How was it possible
that the colonists should find themselves in a state of
such utter destitution, in a country so overflowing
with abundance as Mr. Winslow's letter has described,
where the forests were filled with game and the waters
with fish. We will allow Mr. Winslow himself to
reply to this question.

" I answer, everything must be expected in its pro-
per season. No man, as one saith, will go into an orch-

* History of Plymouth Plantation, by William Bradford, p. 127.


ard in the winter to gather cherries. So he that looks
for fowl there, in the summer, will be disappointed.
The time they continue plenty with us is from the be-
ginning of October to the end of March. But these
extremities befell us in May and June. I confess that
as the fowl decrease, so fish increase. And, indeed,
their increasing abundance was a great cause of in-
creasing our wants. For, though our bays and creeks
were full of bass and other fish, yet, for want of fit
and strong seines, and other netting, they for the most
part broke through, and carried all away before them.
And, though the sea were full of cod, yet we had
neither tackling nor hawsers for our shallops. And,
indeed, had we not been in a place where divers sorts
of shell fish are. that may be taken with the hand, we
must have perished, unless God had raised some un-
known or extraordinary means for our preservation." *

Mr. Winslow, upon his return from the fishing
fleet, found the colony in great weakness. The hos-
tile Indians were not blind to this. The massacre in
Virginia had roused their savage natures, and many
insulting speeches, by them, were reported to the
English. Even Massasoit was disposed to frown, be-
ing sorely displeased at their refusal to surrender
Squantum, according to the terms of the treaty.

The menaces of war had become so serious that

* Young's Chronicles of the Pilgrims, p. 295.


Captain Standish deemed it necessary immediately to
increase and strengthen their fortifications. They at
once set to work to build a strong fort upon Burial
Hill, within the limits of their palisades. It consisted
of a large, square building, with a strong flat roof,
made of thick planks, supported by oaken beams.
Upon this roof they placed their cannon, command-
ing all the approaches. The large room below served
them for a church. Their mode of assembling for
public worship is described by Isaac de Rassieres, who
visited Plymouth in 1627:

" They assemble," he writes, " by beat of drum,
each with his musket or firelock, in front of Captain
Standish's door. They have their cloaks on, and
place themselves in order, three abreast, and are led
by a sergeant without beat of drum. Behind comes
the Governor, in a long robe. Beside him, on the
right hand, comes the preacher, with his cloak on ;
and on the left hand the Captain, with his side arms
and cloak on, and with a small cane in his hand. And
so they march in good order, and each sets his arms
clown near him."

Early in July two trading ships from London, the
Charity and the Swan, entered Plymouth harbor.
These ships brought fifty or sixty emigrants, who in-
tended to settle in the country as the agents of a com-
pany in England. It was their object to establish a


colony to trade with the Indians. The expedition
was fitted out by Mr. Thomas Weston, a wealthy
merchant in London, and hence the new-comers were
generally called Weston's men. Many of them were
utterly devoid of principle, profane and profligate.
Mr. Cushr^an wrote in reference to them :

" They are no men for us, and I fear that they will
hardly deal so well with the savages as they should.
I pray you, therefore, to signify to Squantum that
they are a distinct body from us, and we have nothing
to do with them, nor must be blamed for their faults,
much less can warrant their fidelity."

Mr. John Pierce wrote respecting them : " As for
Mr. Weston's company, they are so base in condition
for the most part, as in all appearance not fit for an
honest man's company. I wish they might prove

At the time of the arrival of these rude and hun-
gry adventurers, the Pilgrims had their gardens filled
with growing vegetables, and they had sixty acres
planted with corn, just then in the green ear. At
that time, when boiled or roasted, it made very pal-
ateable food. But it was wasteful to use it in that
state unless there were great abundance. When ri-
pened it contained much more nutriment, and would
go much farther in feeding the hungry. But these
wretched men, though received hospitably by the


Pilgrims, and treated with the utmost kindness, re-
quited them by robbing their gardens and their corn-
field. Their little growing harvest was thus most
cruelly wasted. Indeed these godless wretches
seemed wantonly to destroy the growing crop. Hav-
ing no religion of their own, and only a God to swear
by, they insulted, with oaths and ribald jests, those
devout men, who daily looked in prayer to God for
guidance, and whose voices were often blended in
Christian hymns.

The Pilgrims seem to have been more grieved in
view of the influence the conduct of these men would
exert upon the savages, than by the outrages to which
they themselves were exposed. Mr. Winslow wrote :

" Nevertheless, for their master's sake, who for-
merly had deserved well from us, * we continued to
do them whatever good or furtherance we could, at-
tributing these things to the want of confidence and
discretion, expecting each day when God, in his prov-
idence, would disburden us of them, sorrowing tha.t
their overseers were not of more ability and fitness
for their places, and much fearing what would be the
issue of such raw and unconscionable beginnings." f

The Charity, which was the larger ship, having
put these men ashore, continued her voyage to Vir-

* Mr. Weston had formerly befriended the plantation at Plymouth.
f Winslow in Young, p. 297.


ginia. The rabble crew remained, an almost intoler-
able burden upon the Pilgrims, during nearly all the
summer. An expedition was fitted out to explore
Massachusetts Bay, in search of a suitable location
for Mr. Weston's colony. The expedition at length
returned, recommending a place in Boston harbor,
called by the Indians Wessagusset, but to which the
name of Weymouth was subsequently given.

Inexpressible was the satisfaction of the Pilgrims
when they saw these miscreants take their departure.
They however left behind them quite a number of
sick persons, whom the Pilgrims nursed with true
Christian benevolence, placing them under the care
of their own skilful physician, Dr. Fuller, and, as
they recovered, sending them, without any charge, to
their own distant colony.

But immediately after these men landed at Wey-
mouth, complaints came to the ears of the Pilgrims
of innumerable acts of violence and injustice which
they were perpetrating. They stole the corn of the
Indians, insulted their females in the grossest man-
ner, and in all things seemed to regard the Indians as
not entitled to any rights which white men were
bound to respect. The Pilgrims were the more an-
noyed by these atrocities, since the Indians, disposed
to be friendly, had entreated Captain Standish to es-
tablish a colony of white men in their country, who


could teach them many arts, and to whom they could
sell their corn and furs. Their outrages, reported
from tribe to tribe, tended also to exasperate every-
where the undiscriminating Indians against the Eng-
lish. But the Pilgrims had no power to redress these
abuses. They remonstrated earnestly ; but their re-
monstrances were in vain. The outrages were con-
tinued unabated.

The Weston men had brought scarcely any sup-
plies with them. Before a month had passed they
were actually in a starving condition. They had no
harvest to gather in ; winter was coming upon them,
and death by famine stared them in the face. To add
to their misery, anarchy reigned there, and the colony
consisted of a rabble of profane, ungovernable men,
in constant quarrels among themselves. These men
had also so wasted and consumed the supplies upon
which the industrious Pilgrims had been relying for
the winter, that the Plymouth colony was also in great
danger of perishing from want.

When in this alarming condition, and when the
minds of the Pilgrims were agitated with great anxiety
in view of the future, two ships, at the end of August,
came into Plymouth harbor. One of them, the Dis-
covery, was commanded by Captain Jones, formerly
of the Mayflower. The other was one of Mr. Weston's
small fishing vessels, the Swan, which had returned


from a fishing expedition, and was bound for Virginia
Providentially, Captain Jones had quite a large sup-
ply of provisions. He had never been in cordial sym-
pathy with the Pilgrims, and now he very ungen-
erously took advantage of their great necessities.
Though the Pilgrims were consequently compelled to
pay an exorbitant price for everything they obtained
of him, still they were enabled to purchase such sup-
plies as would save them from actual starvation. Mr.
Winslow writes :

"And had not the Almighty, in His all-ordering
providence, directed him to us, it would have gone
worse with us than ever it had been, or after was.
For as we had now but small store of corn for the
year following, so, for want of supply, we were worn
out of all manner of trucking stuff, not having any
means to help us by trade. But, through God's good
mercy towards us, he had wherewith, and did supply
our wants, on that kind, competently." *

In consequence of the destitution of Mr. Wes-
ton's colony at Wey mouth, the Swan was sent there,
with a considerable supply of provisions, and with ar-
ticles to trade with the Indians in exchange for corn.
The Swan was also left with the colony, to be used
for coasting purposes. But not a month had passed
before these reckless spendthrifts had squandered all

* Young's Chronicles ; p. 299.


their provisions, and were again starving. And they
were in such poor repute with the Indians that none
dared venture into the colony with corn to sell, lest
they should be robbed.

A man by the name of John Sanders was the
leading man, a sort of governor over the Weymouth
colony. He wrote to Governor Bradford, wishing to
unite with him in an excursion along the eastern and
southern coast of Cape Cod, to purchase corn of the
Indians. He would furnish the vessel for the voyage,
the Swan, but the colony at Plymouth must furnish
the men to trade with the Indians and the articles for
traffic. The corn was to be equally divided between
them. He promised to repay the Pilgrims for such
trading commodities as they should contribute, when
the next supplies came from Mr. Weston.

The promises of such a man were of but little
value. The Weymouth colony was already in a hope-
lessly ruinous condition. But the Pilgrims were well
aware that they were daily in danger of an irruption
of the whole vagabond gang to eat out their sub-
stance, and to fill their peaceful village with clamor
and violence. They had far more to fear from these
wretched colonists than from the savages. Policy
therefore, as well as humanity, urged it upon them to
do everything in their power to supply the wants of
Weston's men, and thus keep them at a distance.


Captain Standish, with a small crew, took com
mand of the Swan for this trading expedition along
the outer coast of Cape Cod. Squantum accorru
panied them as interpreter and pilot. They had
succeeded in reconciling Massasoit to him. They set
sail the latter part of September. But so violent a
gale arose that they were compelled to put back, hav-
ing suffered considerable harm. It took some time
to repair damages, when again they weighed anchor.
Squantum proved a very poor pilot. They were en-
tangled among the shoals, and retarded by contrary
winds ; and, to add to their calamities, Captain Stand-
ish was seized with a violent fever. Thus they were
compelled a second time to put back, not having ac-
complished anything.

These delays brought them to the month of No-
vember. The captain continuing quite sick, Governor
Bradford himself took command of the vessel. The
Governor had but little confidence in Squantum's
knowledge of the coast. Still he had to look to him
alone, for no one else knew anything of the region.
At last, much bewildered and in peril, they ran into
an harbor with which Squantum was familiar, at a
place called, by the Indians, Manamocki, now Chat-

The Governor, accompanied by a small party, with
Squantum for interpreter, went on shore that night


But no Englishmen had visited the region before, and
the natives, terrified by the sight of the vessel, had
fled. Through Squantum, the Governor gradually
succeeded in making his friendly intentions known,
and cautiously they gathered around him. They
brought venison and corn in considerable abundance,
and seemed very glad to exchange them for the val-
uable articles which Governor Bradford offered in re-
turn. Still they manifested much fear of their visit-
ors, and were very unwilling to let them know where
their dwellings were. And when they found that the
Governor intended to remain on shore all night, they
suddenly disappeared, running to their wigwams, and
carrying all their valuables away with them.

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Online LibraryJohn S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) AbbottMiles Standish, the Puritan captain .. → online text (page 11 of 21)